(Reuters) - Twelve tourists were injured in a bomb explosion on Saturday in the Maldives’ capital, Male, the islands’ government said.
Here are some key facts about the Indian Ocean archipelago:
POPULATION: 369,031 (July 2007 estimate)
ETHNIC GROUPS: South Indians, Sinhalese and Arabs
RELIGION: Mostly Sunni Muslim
LANGUAGE: Maldivian Dhivehi (a dialect of Sinhala)
GEOGRAPHY: The Maldives are a group of 1,192 islands scattered across 500 miles of the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of India
ECONOMY: GDP $1 billion
MAIN INDUSTRIES: Tourism, fish processing, boat building and coconut processing
MAIN EXPORTS: Fish and clothing
MAIN IMPORTS: Consumer goods, capital goods
MODERN HISTORY: From the 12th Century, the Maldives were governed as a sultanate. The islands were under British protection from 1887 to 1965, when they became independent
The Maldives became a republic in 1968. In 1988 Indian troops suppressed a coup by invading Tamil mercenaries from Sri Lanka
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, currently in his sixth term, has ruled the archipelago since 1978 and is Asia’s longest-serving ruler
Source: Reuters, CIA and World Bank
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